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Akufo-Addo Pays Tribute To Theresa Tagoe

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Farewell “Bottoms” – Tribute to a Woman of Valour
We met in our youth and became great friends at the University, where predictably she was one of the most vocal spirits in Volta Hall, then the cynosure of all healthy young males at Legon.
The ‘Akyem connection’ between us served to heighten our friendship. Much about Theresa Ameley Tagoe was already evident at the time – her courage, her humour, her strong sense of principle and her outspokenness. It was impossible to keep her quiet when she felt passionately about an issue. It was during our time at Legon that, for the rest of her life, I came to call her “Bottoms” as against the more familiar “TT”. The origin of the nickname will continue to remain confidential between us!!
So it was that, in the latter part of 1991, when the tempo for the restoration of democratic rule began to quicken after a decade of PNDC military government, a group of us first met at the late Stephen Krakue’s home in East Cantonments under “the doyen,” the late B J da Rocha’s leadership to begin the deliberations that led to the formation of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). She was the only woman present. Virtually all those who attended that historic meeting came to play critical roles in the development of the NPP- R. R Amponsah, B. J da Rocha, Adu Boahen, Safo Adu, Dsane Selby, J A Kufuor, Rev Asante Antwi, Stephen Krakue, Agyenim Boateng, Hackman Owusu Agyemang, Haruna Esseku. K. G Osei Bonsu, Justice Boateng, Kwaku Baah, Osafo Maafo, Theresa Tagoe and my modest self. Even though the political space was beginning to open up again, it was still not easy even in those late PNDC days to be associated with such meetings. Theresa did not hesitate to be part of them.
From that meeting, she became the acknowledged leader of the women’s wing of the party, a position she was to hold throughout the 1990’s. All the early mobilisation of women supporters of the party was undertaken under her leadership. Her bi-lingual secretarial school, Agence d’Or in Kpehe, provided the venue for the meetings of the women’s wing. No sacrifice was too great for her to bear. The party’s women’s wing, which is growing from strength to strength, owes Theresa Tagoe, its founder, an immense debt of gratitude.
She was one of the group of 61 NPP persons who, after the party’s boycott of the 1992 parliamentary elections, were first elected into the Second Parliament of the 4th Republic in the elections of 1996. Of that number were three other women, Gladys Asmah, Christine Churcher and Grace Coleman, making four in all. Theresa could be counted on to enliven the proceedings of the House with her asides, heckling and general combativeness. Dynamic and uncompromising, she helped strengthen the backbone of the group. The party’s famous victory in the 2000 elections, which she gleefully welcomed, saw her transformation into a member of the Executive, being appointed by President Kufuor to a series of deputy ministerial assignments, including her last as deputy regional minister for the Greater Accra Region. She took her forthright, honest manner of dealing into her work in government.
For those of us who cherished and valued her life and character, her last years with its debilitating illness were painful. The energy and vitality, which were her hallmarks, gave way. It is not for us mere mortals to question the ways of the Almighty. Strong Christian that she was, she accepted her fate with her faith in God unshaken.
One of the founders of the NPP has been called to meet her Maker. A woman of valour with deep-seated convictions and a firm supporter of the historic mission of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia tradition of Ghanaian politics, the mission of the development of our nation in freedom, Theresa Ameley Tagoe’s death has left a large hole in the fabric of the NPP family. Our party and country have lost a great servant of freedom.
Our thoughts go to the family, especially her two sons whom she so adored. They should be proud of their mother’s achievements and contribution to the growth of democracy in Ghana, which should inspire their lives. I extend also a special condolence to my sister Marigold, for whom Theresa was more than a sister. I know she is inconsolable.
Bottoms, may you rest in perfect peace in the bosom of the Almighty until the last day of the Resurrection when we shall all meet again. God bless you.
Accra, 16th January, 2011.
Source: Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

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